Yearbook 2016-2017

Having reached my final year of high school, I realize the importance of the many memories and experiences I have collected throughout the last few years, and really want to be a part of how all my friends, as well as myself, will remember them. Yearbook is a great way to go about this, and, when I look through it years later, will mean that much more to me as I would have been a part of creating the final product.

Additionally, I’ve always been interested in photoshop, graphics and the huge amount of creativity needed to make the yearbook. having gone to only three meeting so far, the sheer number of ideas we have already brainstormed has made me really excited for the final product, and our classmates’ reactions to it.

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My Mood Board

 

 

Although we haven’t started making the pages yet, we thought it would be a good idea to create a mood board, expressing our main creative ideas of the yearbook this year. Showing each other our ideas this way, instead of through words, worked really well in inspiring us and helping us come up with a theme.

My main goal for Yearbook is…

(a) To maintain my commitment and make sure I do my best to make our visions for this year a reality.

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Gala Concert Plans

Like last year, one of the first conversations we had in music this year was about the gala concert, as we had all been thinking of new performances to showcase. This year, I will be playing the glockenspiel with the concert band, taking part in the opening and closing numbers. I’m really looking forward to this experience as playing with a band is an important musical skill that I would like to develop further. Last year, I played the piano in a string ensemble, allowing me to improve my timing and precision on the instrument. Therefore, I’m glad to have the opportunity to improve these skills on a new instrument. I’m also really excited to be playing the glockenspiel as I really like its timbre and sound.

My goals for the gala concert are..

(a) To develop my musical skills in an instrument other than the piano, like the glockenspiel.

(b) To improve my timing and precision in playing, in order to play as part of a band.

 

Hope For Kids – DP2

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Photo Credits: Miss Tanuja

Meeting and Objectives…

Before even entering our first meeting, I was already eager for this service year, as I am now one of the service leaders for Hope For Kids. I will be in charge of the accounting aspect, while my other two fellow leaders will be in charge of PR and organization. While at first glance, numbers and calculation may seem to be the least thrilling part of service and giving back to others, I don’t think that’s the case for my service. Through years of hard work, HFK has a considerable amount of funding to its name, a fact that got all the members very excited as we came up with idea after idea for helping the hospital with our funding. Consequently, our meeting was filled with many suggestions and improvements from last year, leading to our current ambitious objectives for the coming year:

(a) Allocate funding accordingly for short term expenses such as arts and crafts material, as well as long term expenses such as buying medical equipment. In addition to broadening perspectives and bringing a childhood back to these patients, this year, we also want to help with more technical aspects such as necessities for families and expensive medical equipment.

(b) Strengthen our awareness campaign for the service and the issues it combats in Sri Lankan society. we decided a good first step would be to open up a Facebook page. Interacting and giving back to the kids is a reward of its own, but it is equally important create awareness and make sure we aid them as a unified community, and not just a school service group.

(c) Brainstorm new creative activities that would be meaningful as well as beneficial for the kids we visit. A new idea that we carried out in one of our initial visits to the hospital this year is making paper dolls. Due to their weak immune systems, these kids aren’t allowed to have stuffed toys due to its cotton filling. Therefore, by showing them how to make paper dolls, we are hopefully showing them a way to keep hold of their childhood and see the good in a bad situation.

Hospital Visits

img_6347As mention in our this objective, one of the first hospital activities we conducted was making paper dolls. what really struck me during this visit was how fun it was to interact with the kids and how much they had to give back to their community. One of the girls I was helping make paper dolls really didn’t need my help at all! Despite being shy at first, she quickly took control of choosing the colors and designing the doll’s outfit. Despite having a really great time talking to her, she was very enthusiastic about making her doll on her own – which in the end was a good thing as she seemed to have a great artistic vision that I did not possess. It really showed me how much all of them had to offer, and how it should be a privilege to us to get to see them every week.

Yoga – DP2 Objectives

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Having done yoga last year, I was happy to join again, especially since I’m really interested to try different forms of yoga. This year, our new teacher, Miss. Rebecca Morse, has decided to practice more challenging and physical aspects of yoga.

Last year, I talked about how different yoga was from the sports I normally took part in, like badminton, with a strong focus on healthy living and a clear mind. This year, while a strong mind is still given emphasis, we are also exploring the harder poses and really challenging our bodies. Additionally, a really great aspect of yoga is endurance – holding a pose is as important as being able to do it, making it a very different form of action from badminton, and one that I am excited to improve.

My aims for yoga this semester are…

(a) To learn the basic poses of yoga, so that I can practice yoga at home, and improve my skills. For example, I learnt that the ‘rest’ pose in yoga is called the ‘child’s’ pose.

(b) Improve my skills in the harder yoga poses by holding it better and for a little bit longer each class.

(c) Use the breathing techniques we learn to improve my endurance and strength while doing yoga – it is very easy to forget to do so throughout the session.

DP 2 Objectives

With school beginning one last time for me, I am excited to form new CAS goals and maintain my commitment to those from last year.

I aim to…

  • Explore and improve upon my creativity skills and talents by:

(a) Maintaining my commitment to playing the piano, by continuing my lessons, and sitting for the ABRSM Grade 4 Piano Practical exam. Additionally, I will look at identifying my strengths and areas for growth, in order to improve as a pianist.

(b) Developing new musical skills by playing the glockenspiel as part of the concert band for the upcoming gala concert.

(c) Undertaking new challenges by taking violin lessons and learning to play an instrument that is very different from the piano.

(d) Exploring new areas of creativity, such as photoshop and digital editing, in Yearbook.

(e) Reflecting on my creative efforts by analyzing my skills and progress and determining how to get better.

  • Show significant development in my activities by:

(a) Showing commitment and perseverance by participating in badminton and yoga again.

(b) Working collaboratively with fellow athletes in badminton, in order to maintain my strengths in the sport and develop in areas for growth.

  • Prove my dedication to service in the community and determine how to increase the quality of my efforts by:

(a) Maintaining my commitment to the service ‘Hope for Kids’.

(b) Working collaboratively with the members of my service to spread awareness of global issues, such as cancer, and the ways in which it is affecting our own community in Sri Lanka.

(c) Apply my leadership skills as a leader of my service in order to plan and initiate activities that will benefit the patients at the cancer hospital, and aid in bringing funds to help the hospital with their worthy cause.

  • Fulfill my CAS requirements by:

(a) Planning and carrying out a CAS project

Looking back at my goals in DP1, I have aimed to make my goals more specific and achievable, in order to have a more successful CAS experience during my last year of high school.

End of Year CAS Reflection

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As the end of this academic year nears, looking back at my initial CAS goals, and the eight learning outcomes for CAS, makes me realize how much I have grown and accomplished this year, as well as the ways in which my aspirations changed and veered in new directions.
FullSizeRender-2Looking back on my goals for creativity, it’s encouraging to see that I have achieved my goals, and exceeded my initial expectations. Having reflected on the blog regarding my progress as a piano player, I am satisfied with my success at live performances, and my improvement in pianistic techniques. However, while I am glad that I undertook the challenge of becoming a better pianist and playing for live audiences, it has also led me to identify areas for growth in my learning.Now that I have experience playing live, and have a better understanding of how to cope with mistakes during the heat of the moment, I aim to take a more central and frequent role in these performances next year, as a DP2 musician.

While maintaining my commitment to playing the piano, I am also really grateful 1that I got the opportunity to expand my knowledge of music, by developing new skills as a violinist. As this was a CAS goal made at the beginning of the year, however, I am a little disappointed at how long it took me to organize a teacher and start my lessons, as it left me no time for reflection on the blog. For next year, I plan to take more initiative when pursuing any CAS activity, so that I have time to blog in detail about it, over the course of the semesters.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 8.25.23 PMA large part of my creativity hours, however, came about due to activities and events that I did not plan to be a part of, but felt a personal desire to try. MUN and Bugsy Malone (backstage crew) are two main events that became a spontaneous addition to my CAS blog. With MUN, I demonstrated my perseverance and commitment to an activity that had overwhelmed me the year before. Deciding to participate a second time allowed me to experience the activity in a new light, made more enjoyable by my prior knowledge and new friends. Volunteering for the backstage crew in our school musical, however, was an entirely new challenge for me, one that turned out to be very rewarding. Aside from teaching me new skills, this event showed me what it is like to be part of OSC, and revel in the school spirit.

Looking back on my goals for action, it is apparent that this is the are where myScreen Shot 2016-02-17 at 8.19.56 PM plans for the year changed significantly, taking me in new athletic directions that I had never thought of before. At the beginning of the year, I was eager to try a different form of action – dance. While I was very enthusiastic to learn, however, I did not find a class to my liking. Determined to develop new skills athletically, however, I joined yoga with my friends during the second semester. Rather different from dance, yoga taught me the importance of having a cal mindset and exercising your muscles to remain healthy. It was a very different area of action compared to badminton, the sport that I have been committed to for the past few years. Badminton allowed me to improve my strengths in technical aspects, such as succeeding in a smash shot, and enabled me to compete with friends in an activity I really enjoyed. Despite my athletic achievements, however, I wish I had been able to play sports more competitively, like in SAISA, something I am planning on working towards for next year.

HFKLooking back on my goals for service, I am glad to report that I have committed to “Hope for Kids” the entire year, a feat made very easy by the wonderful kids and dedicated group members. In the presence of my peers, who are so familiar with this cause, and determined to improve it, as well as my supervisors, who care about us as much as the kids at the hospital, it is impossible to see my service as a mere CAS requirement. Hope for Kids has definitely made me want to contribute to other service projects during my own time, which I think would be a good way to develop as a person, outside of CAS requirements.

For next year, I I plan to use all my ideas from the end of this year, as well as any new ideas I may have over the summer, to figure out new CAS goals.

HFK -Preparation for the New Year

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Food and Fun Fair

After weeks of tie-dying shirts, making dream catchers and beading necklaces, the Food and Fun Fair finally dawned on Saturday, the 2nd of April. The fair was cheerful and bustling from the start, and it took me a moment to take in the colorful stalls and find the one that was labelled ‘Hope For Kids’. Thanks to the wonderful teachers we had supervising us, the stall was set up for success, with all our hard work displayed proudly along with many pictures of our work at the hospital.

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The HFK Stall

I, along with many of my fellow members, stopped by the stall frequently  throughout the fair to make sure that the members manning the stall could take a break. Unfortunately, I couldn’t spend all my time at my service stall as, like all the others, I also had to help out with our class stall, the ‘Slip ‘N Slide’. However, I still supported Hope For Kids by sending many of my friends to the stall, and buying something from the stall myself. Apart from raising money for our cause, I think our enthusiasm and commitment conveyed to all our customers our dedication to the service and its importance in Sri Lanka. Hopefully, our time at the fair also served in inspiring others to pay more attention to all the kids in need in Sri Lanka.

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Rations at the Hospital (Photo Credits: Smriti Nagarajan)

 

The Food and Fun Fair was a nice way of welcoming the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, here in Sri Lanka, which falls on the 13th or 14th of April, depending on the year. As this is a time where family and friends get together and celebrate new beginnings, we wanted the kids at the hospital, along with their families, to have the same opportunity. Therefore, as we had done the year before, we had a dry rations fundraiser at school before spring break, so the kids at the hospital could indulge in good food during this happy time. To incentivize our classmates to bring in dry rations (such as rice, milk powder, and other Sri Lankan staple foods), we decided to award the grade that brought in the most rations a pizza party.

 

 

The Thursday before spring break, as we were all struggling to load the immense amount of dry rations into our van to take to the kids, we realized how much our classmates had really delivered. This was especially true in the case of grade 7, who brought in the most amount of dry rations and won the pizza party.

At the hospital, due to the shy smiles and heartfelt ‘thank you’s of the kids and their families as we gave them their rations, it was wonderful to hear that we had brought in extra rations and could donate them to even more families.

As a Sri Lankan looking forward to her own New Year, I’m really grateful that I got to start it in such a simple, yet uplifting way.

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Taking the Rations to the Hospital (Photo Credits: Smriti Nagarajan)